Flight Attendant Shares The One Safety Tip Everyone Ignores

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Almost Everyone In This Photo Made A Deadly Mistake

Marty Martinez

By now you've probably heard the scary story of Southwest Airlines flight 1380, which made an emergency landing earlier this week.

A quick thinking passenger, Marty Martinez, even recorded footage inside the flight as it was forced to touch down.

But as a flight attendant points out, almost everyone in Martinez's footage made a mistake that could have cost them their lives.

"We have got part of the aircraft missing"

Southwest Flight 1380
An engine on flight 1380 exploded while the plane was airborne.Joe Marcus - Twitter

Authorities say the woman in flight 1380's cockpit, former Navy fighter pilot Tammie Jo Shults, is the hero that saved all but one of the nearly 150 people on board.

One of the engines on the Boeing 737-700 exploded, sending shrapnel through a window and depressurizing the airplane.

One woman was nearly sucked out of the cabin, and had to be pulled back inside by other passengers.

Southwest flight 1380
A passenger's photo of pilot Tammie Jo Shults after the emergency landingDiana McBride Self

Passengers on board said they were convinced that the plane would crash after the explosion.

"I was thinking, 'This plane is going into the ground,'" one told the New York Times.

But just 15 minutes after the incident, Shults made a successful emergency landing in Pittsburgh.

"We have got part of the aircraft missing," she told air traffic controllers, keeping calm, "so we are going to need to slow down a bit."

A deadly mistake

While flight 1380's pilot kept her cool, almost everyone else on board made a serious mistake.

Flight 1380
Marty Martinez

Flight attendant Bobby Laurie shared a photo of the passengers on Twitter, with a serious warning.

"Listen to your flight attendants!" he wrote.

"ALMOST EVERYONE in this photo from [Flight 1380] is wearing their mask WRONG."

When a plane's cabin depressurizes, masks drop down from the ceiling to provide oxygen.

As anyone who has taken a flight will know, stewards warn passengers about the masks and how to use them on every flight.

But can you spot the mistake the passengers on flight 1380 made?

How do you use an oxygen mask?

It seems like the passengers on flight 1380 missed an important detail from their safety presentation:

An oxygen mask should be placed over the nose and the mouth.

Air mask
RP Aerosystems

It may look small, but the yellow cap of the mask is flexible and will stretch over the nose and mouth. There are also straps to hold it in place.

But why make such a big fuss over a little piece of plastic?

It's a real lifesaver. As air pressure drops in an airplane cabin passengers can suffer from hypoxia - or lack of oxygen.

Airplane safety demonstation

Hypoxia can cause blurred vision, fainting, and slowed decision making, all of which are very dangerous in an emergency situation.

When oxygen masks dropped on flight 1380, the plane was still 32,000 feet in the air. Any height above 12,000 is unsafe without an oxygen supply.

Remember these air travel safety tips

When in doubt, you can follow the instructions printed on your air bag.

Airplane emergency
Passengers brace for an emergency landing. Aviation CV

But there are some other lifesaving tips to keep in mind for your next flight:

  • Pay attention to any safety briefings and instructions from stewards.
  • Study your surroundings - including where the nearest exit is.
  • Don't cheat the carry on rules by bringing heavy luggage aboard the plane. In an emergency it will only become a hazard.
  • Stay buckled up even when the seatbelt sign is off. Turbulence can strike at any time.
  • Avoid drinking, because alcohol affects your body more seriously on an airplane.
  • Leave everything behind when you deplane, including luggage and electronics.
  • Have emergency contact information and important documents like passports on your person at all times.

Accidents and emergencies during flights are very rare, but you should still take these safety warnings seriously.

Here's one last tip: learn the clever trick for dealing with turbulence on a flight.

How to deal with turbulence on a flight

While flying is still the safest way to travel, it has one serious downside: turbulence.

If you've ever been stuck on this shaky, bumpy flight, you know how serious it can be.

Colored smoke shows what turbulence actually looks like.NASA - Wikimedia

Dozens of people are injured by turbulence every year, and experts say the phenomenon is becoming more common.

Incidents of turbulence are predicted to rise by 149% because of climate change, so everyone should learn how to stay sane on a bumpy flight.

Airline pilot Ron Nielsen, who has 40 years of experience in the cockpit, shared his clever trick for dealing with anxiety caused by turbulence.

Just write your name over and over with your non-dominant hand (as in using your left hand if you're a righty).

Ron Nielsen
Ron Nielsen explains his turbulence-fighting trick.Today

The experience is so distracting that it manages to pull your mind away from the panic caused by turbulence.

If you don't have pen and paper handy, Nielsen recommends breathing through a straw, or into a paper bag.

This trick prevents you from hyperventilating, which will only make your body feel worse.

Have you ever been on a flight during an emergency?

[H/T: Today, AirSafe, Refinery 29]

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